Begin the memorable day with pickup at your hotel in Auckland’s Central Business District, and head south over the Bombay Hills and across the Hauraki Plains to a sheep farm in Matamata, better known to J.R.R. Tolkien fans as the Shire. On a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, see recognizable scenery created for the 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' films and learn the secrets and stories behind the creation of Middle-earth. Take in stellar views of the Kaimai Ranges as you visit meticulously crafted sets including Hobbit Holes, the Mill, and the Green Dragon Inn, where you can even enjoy a specially brewed drink fit for a Baggins.
After the tour, trade Hobbit trivia with your fellow travelers over a Kiwi-style lunch.
Next, embark on an underground adventure at the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where thousands of tiny worms illuminate caverns thanks to natural phosphorescent properties. Watch the mesmerizing natural light show while gliding through the cave on a boat, and learn about the area’s natural and cultural history from a guide—likely a descendant of the Maori chief who originally discovered the caves. You also explore on foot Cathedral Cove, known for its impressive acoustics.
On the return drive to Auckland, travel through some of the North Island’s most beautiful countryside, following the Waikato River (New Zealand’s longest), and passing both the Maori king’s home at Ngaruawahia and Taupiri, site of a sacred Maori burial ground. The full-day tour concludes with drop-off back at your hotel in the evening.